Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Okay, I'm putting it out there - this independent, strong and content and usually incredibly busy and happy woman...

This is the hardest time of the year for me to be single.  

It's the time when everyone wants the Norman Rockwell fantasy family.  And when you want someone to snuggle with on the couch while sipping a glass of wine or hot cocoa while staring dreamily at the lights on the Christmas tree.  

It's not about exchanging big fancy gifts... 

but sitting together in church and singing Christmas carols.  Holding hands and praying together as you celebrate the birth of your Savior.

It's about watching old Christmas movies, being with family and friends.. and sharing love and laughter.  

It's about falling asleep next to the one you love and feeling all warm and cozy just as you drift off to have sugarplums dance in your head.

But my couch is empty... and my bed is cold...

There's no special Christmas card, or eyes to gaze into... no one to corner under the mistletoe...

And while most of the time being single is fine and dandy and I don't equate marriage as the be-all end-all status to solve life's problems... and I know you can be just as lonely wearing a little gold band and having the houseful of kids and a dog and all the yada-yada that goes along with every two-hour sappy Christmas movie ever made...

it's especially hard this time of year.

Just sayin'...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him

Matthew 2:11
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him:  and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

The wise men had been watching and waiting for Him.  They had been actively looking, scrutinizing the skies for signs, and when they saw the star they got up and pursued Him.  They travelled a specific path until they found Him they fell down and worshipped Him.  Only then did they open their treasures before Him and lay them at His feet.

On this third day of December, do you find your heart searching for Christ?  Or are you distracted with the tiring trimmings of hurried and harried holiday demands?  Is your mind and calendar already diverted from the path that seeks the Sacred?  Are you prematurely preoccupied with plans, pushed by people and poor from present purchases?  Already find yourself disenchanted, looking not so much for the Savior, but for the end of Christmas when all the madness will cease and you will be able to “get back to normal” (whatever that is)?

Weary one, drop everything now and fall down at the feet of Jesus.  Worship the Babe in the manger Who has come to give you life.  Let all else fade and focus on Him and Him alone.  Then, like the wise men, open your treasures to the Savior – your time, your talents, your day and all the intentions, arrangements and preparations therein.  Kneel and seek His face… seek His guidance… come to Him and He will give you rest as your priorities align with His will.  Seek first His kingdom, His righteousness… The well-worn phrase means so much more than just some seasonal saying on a bumper sticker in holiday gridlock – He really IS the reason for the season.  

Oh come, let us adore Him…refreshed and renewed and centered on the Savior.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hydor... for a Parched and Dusty Soul

John 14:4:  "But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.

Today as I was reading my devotional from The Daily Bread (one of my favorites), they highlighted John 14:4 and spoke of Jesus, and the Living Water He offers us… we, who pant with parched souls of longing (Psalm 42:1-2).

When I awoke this morning the desiccated air from the home heater made my face, hands and throat arid… tight and almost painful.  I literally doused myself with lotion and moisturizer to alleviate the dehydrated-old-kitchen-sponge-like layers of epidermis cells tightening around my bones.  I gazed out the window and watched as rains continued to pour down, having begun their watery dance last night, gently tapping out a pitter-pat window pane lullabye.

Here I stood inside a fortress of concrete and humidity-barren heat, surrounded by water… and dry as a bone. 

Far too often I must confess this scene has been a visual depiction of my spiritual life.  I am surrounded by Christ, Who offers me “hydor” – the Greek word for water in John 4:14.  Hydor, waters of the deluge, water out of and through which the world that was before the flood.  Hydor, from which is easily seen the root for the word hydrate.  My hard and crusty soul sits ready to crack from lack of the spiritual stream of Living Water right within my reach.  I can drink and bathe and soak in Christ, immersed in His word, swimming in His love if only I will seek Him and come to Him.  He beckons me to dive in and be utterly saturated.

But instead, I smile and wave and run past – “Oh sorry, Christ, slept late… too busy.. things to do.  I’ll pray to You in the car as I commute, okay?”  Or, “I’ll catch You at bedtime prayers (which are interrupted or circumvented by my dropping into bed, barely enough energy to turn out the light, let alone read and pray).”  I trudge along in my daily dusty desert, increasingly worn and soul-thirsty, wondering why I feel so dry inside. 


Today I stepped outside and allowed the rain to wash over me, droplets splashing over my welcoming upturned face.  Today I stopped everything, and allowed His Living Water to hydrate my being, until I was spirit-logged and soul-soaked.  I am softened… I am satisfied... I am quenched... by My Jesus.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Good Morning Girls Thanksgiving Bible Study Online


The Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner, and what better way to prepare our hearts for a sense fo Thanksgiving and gratitude than delving into God's word.  And the staff of Good Morning Girls has made this possible for us by offering a free online Bible Study!  It will begin this Monday, November 11th and run through Friday, November 22nd.  It includes a Bible reading plan, study guide and weekly videos - all free.  

Plus, if you have the YouVersion app on your smartphone, tablet or computer, the Thanksgiving study reading plan is there - how simple is that???


What a blessing that these wonderful women are providing this study free, for all of us as we enter into a time of focused thanksgiving on all we have in the Lord.  I'd like to encourage you to join me in the study as you cultivate your heart to be more thankful each day.  Click on the picture above or the link below to get the materials and get ready to be blessed in a big way!

Here's the link:  http://www.goodmorninggirls.org/2013/11/thanksgiving-study-focusing-hearts-gratitude/





Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Walk in the Light

by Pam Manners copyright 2013
"But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have communion with Him in the midst of us, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."  ~ 1 John 1:7

Today I'd like to share some photo artwork from my dear friend and fellow blogger, Pam Manners.  She has created this beautiful Scripture photo, and with her kind permission/blessing, I now present it to all of you!.  

Pam's blog is http://pam-intheshadowofhiswings.blogspot.com/.  

The Lord has gifted her with many talents, and photography is certainly one of them!!  Thanks Pam!

As you take yourself into this photo, I encourage you to imagine yourself walking along this path.  Feel the sun streaming warm on your face and body.  Take in the scent of the leaves, grass and moist earth.  Hear the songbirds as they sing praises to our God and Creator.  Close your eyes and be in communion with the Lord.  Take a moment to whisper a prayer of worship and thanks to Him for all His gifts... first and foremost the love and salvation given to us through Christ Jesus when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior.  

Breathe deep... and be blessed today.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

From my pen and lens...


Friday, October 4, 2013

Clouds in a Tide Pool

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

John 15:1-9

John 15:1-9 Poetry by Linda Bush

Cemetery Mist by Linda Bush 

Wait Training

I am an instructor of Pilates, Pilates Reformer, and a personal trainer where I utilize various apparatus such as kettlebells, the TRX suspension training system, free and body weights, resistance bands and other implements of mass construction for strengthening, flexibility and endurance.  My goal is holistic optimal health and wellness for my clients that will impact and improve their journey day by day.

Weight training develops the strength and size of skeletal muscles, which are under control of the somatic nervous system, voluntarily controlled.  The produce almost all body movement, maintain posture, stabilize joints and generate heat to maintain your normal body temperature.  They cover your skeleton, giving your body its shape.

Personally, I am in a very specialized training program called “wait training.”  It is also designed for creating optimal strengthening, flexibility, endurance and growth… of my spiritual life.  Daily I am thrust into the gym of life and given workouts and practices that carry on for hours, sometimes days and weeks.  Often my Coach will set up an obstacle course where I can’t even see the goal line… there are times it is so dark that my Coach has to shine His light on the narrow path before me.  And if that isn’t difficult enough, I am frequently required to do it blindfolded, trusting only in His voice as He whispers His instructions to me along the way.  The course can be very rocky and leads uphill, steep and frightening.  But just when I think I can’t take one more step, He will lead me beside quiet waters along the paths of righteousness and give me His Bread of Life and Living Water from which I eat and drink deeply until I am nourished, refreshed and renewed.

There is no timetable for my wait training, although the most profitable of sessions have come either early in the morning at the break of dawn or late into the darkness of the midnight hours of my soul.  Sometimes I have a training partner, Percy Verance, and regularly Goodness and Mercy follow behind me, but usually it’s just Coach and me.

It is a most arduous of exercise, demanding everything of me.  There are times Coach has me sit on my hands for hours on end, doing nothing – most confusing and frustrating.  Other times He pushes and pushes until I think my heart will burst.  I complain.  I cry. I bleed.  I have scars – but they are from the times I have wandered impatiently off His course in search of my own training program.  Ahh… always I have wound up hurting myself.  He is demanding, asking my completely loyalty – He will allow no other coaches to take His place.  Yet there has never been a time when I have stumbled and fallen that Coach hasn’t lifted me up and carried me back to His path of training, wiped the sweat from my face and given me all His support, love and guidance. 

My spiritual muscles, like skeletal muscles, are voluntary.  It is always my choice to exercise them.  I can ignore them and let them get flabby, and if I don’t use them they could atrophy and become paralyzed.  When strong I am able to stand tall for my Coach, although the times of best conversations with Him have been when I am on my knees.  My spiritual muscles stabilize my spiritual walk, and maintain the fire in my spiritual core so I am never lukewarm.  Without toned and buff spiritual muscles, my soul would look like a massive puddle of nothingness – a pile of brokenness, which is how Coach found me.
My Coach has made something beautiful of me, and my wait training will continue until I take my last breath.  Only then will the glory of all this training be revealed, and I long for that day when He will say, “Well done!” 

I have to go now… it’s time to run with Percy Verance the race set before me – I see my Coach and must keep my eyes on Him.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crushed and Brokenhearted - A Place of Birth?

Photography by Linda Bush © Copyright 2013
This morning in my quiet time I was led to read Psalm 34:18The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  In the King James Version it reads "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."  
Nigh means near – of place, time, personal relationship.  Broken is shabar, a primitive root meaning to burst, but also to cause to break out, bring to the birth.  Saveth is yasha, be saved/delivered, liberated, give victory to.  I’m  no scholar but looked them up as best I could.  However, this is what I wrote next:


“In place/time/personal relationship – God is around me, surrounds me, unlimited/limitless.  He is not bound and wraps me up in that unbridled, boundless relationship with Him.  No beginning, no end – He is there with me always – I am never alone even when I feel I am in the blackest pit of despair and isolation/lonliness.  Is my broken heart about to give birth now to something unimaginably better and new?  Did He have to allow it to be broken in order to make it limitless and unbounded to bring forth, birth, something so amazing I can’t even begin to wrap my finite/bound mind around it?  He saves me, liberates me.  Isaiah 58:15 says “to revive the spirit… heart”.  Revive is chayah - primitive root to live, make alive, sustain, to cause to grow, quicken, nourish, be whole.  Has my heart been broken in order to be made whole by the Lord and for Him?  To grow it, make it even more alive than ever before?  This gives me hope, excites me, makes me look to the future expectantly, quickens my very being to see what God has planned for my heart’s purpose, for my life.  What beautiful and miraculous plans does He have in store for me?”

Perhaps for someone out there today, reading this will minister to you and be a balm that soothes your weary soul.  We know not what the future holds, but we know Him Who holds our future.

By the way, there is an interesting little story to this picture.  As I was walking one day, I looked down onto the concrete at the leaves that had fallen.  Here was this one leaf, battered and obviously run over and crushed by a car, just ground into the rough stones of the parking lot.  And yet, it was in this beautiful shape of a heart – even though it had gone through “leaf hell”, it stood its ground and remained true to its form, with a new beauty, completely transformed.  Had it been like all the other leaves I would not have noticed it, but now it is forever used in a manner honoring God.  Will He not do so much more with us?

My dear friend Marjory commented that "the picture looks like gold leaf - so precious that it can only be applied sparingly, looking almost like delicate and precious filigree.  God is the refiner, and if we let Him, He will blow away the dross and make our hearts pure and golden."  

Refine us, crush us and do whatever is needed, dearest God our Father/Abba, that we may be refined and used for a greater glory that we cannot see through eyes filled with self-directed tears.  Just hold us close as You promise here in Your everlasting arms... whisper Your love into our sobbing hearts so we will be quieted in You.  May our hopes and dreams and future be always entrusted to Your plan for us.




Monday, September 16, 2013

Morning Glories in My Garden


This is a photograph I took Saturday of the morning glories that have bloomed in my garden.  I planted them rather late in the season and nothing showed for a long time.  Then, lots of vines but no blossoms... but there was hope!  Now, they burst forth each morning is splendor, but by the days's end they are closing their lovely faces against the sun and that will be the end of their amazingly beautiful lifespan on earth.  

I especially love the early morning time -- particularly when I can sit in my garden and meet with the Lord in the hushed misty stillness before the world awakens.  As Women of Faith speaker and author Marilyn Mehberg calls this time, "Jesus, Tea and Me".  That's it - my tea, my Bible, my journal and Jesus. And if that isn't perfect enough, He brings me flowers.. my Beloved Bridegroom calls forth morning glories for me as we spend time together, just He and I.  Indeed, it is a time in which He shows me His glory, in His natural sanctuary as the birds sing praises and the sun's first rays glimmer against the dewdrops on the blades of emerald grass.  Stunning.

He uses the morning glories to remind me that my prayers, like seeds, sometimes aren't immediately answered.  I have to keep praying and be patient, until eventually His answers will blossom, beautiful and fragrant in accordance with His will and time.  

I am also reminded to embrace all He gives me in a day, because I have no guarantee of tomorrow, and that which is in my past is done forever.  Not dwelling in what has been, or fretting about what may come, I am to be in the moments granted to me here and now, enjoying His blessings and seeking His will.  They are brilliant and abundant... for today.  Like manna, they will be gone by nightfall.  

So many lessons from one fragile yet exquisite flower birthed from a single tiny seed. So many blessings from one big and amazing God.  

I bow in humble adoration.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Never Forget


Friday, August 16, 2013

Urgent Prayer Request for Pastor Saeed

Dear readers - this is a copy of an email from Franklin Graham of the Bill Graham Evangelistic Association.  Please read, click on the link and contact your elected officials on behalf of our brother in Christ and his family.  
God bless you,
Linda

*******************************************
Dear Friend,
More than 300 days ago, American Pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced to eight years in Iran’s notoriously brutal Evin Prison. I recently spoke to his wife and she confirmed reports that he has been beaten and tortured. Pastor Saeed is being held in prison for one reason—because of his faith in Jesus Christ.

Join me in praying for Pastor Saeed and his family, remembering “those who are in prison, as though in prison with them” (Hebrews 13:3, ESV).

I urge you to voice your concern about Pastor Saeed’s imprisonment to our elected officials by clicking the link below.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Prayer - What Is It?

This is a excerpt from the Liberty University Online course I'm taking.  it's written by Dr. Elmer L. Towns.  By the way, search him out on Amazon - some amazing books!  I thought I would share it here, as perhaps some of you are (like me) struggling with your prayer life.  Blessings, Linda

PRAYER 
“Nothing of eternal consequence happens apart from prayer.  Churches grow when 
people pray effectively to get people saved, receive resources, remove barriers and enrich 
the service of Christ.” 
   
“There are two kinds of means requisite to promote a revival: the one to influence God, 
the other to influence men.  Prayer is an essential link in the influence that leads to a 
revival, as much so as truth is.  Some have zealously used truth to convert men, and laid 
very little stress on prayer.  They have preached, and talked, and distributed tracts with 
great zeal, and then wondered that they had so little success. And the reason was that 
they forgot to use the other branch of the means, effectual prayer.  They overlooked the 
fact that truth, by itself, will never produce the effect, without the Spirit of God, and that 
the Spirit is given in answer to prayer.” – Charles G. Finney  

A. WHAT IS PRAYER? 
1. Proseuchomai – Prayer that is directed to God. – Phil. 1:9; Eph. 6:18; Heb. 13:8 
2. Aiteo – Prayer that makes a request of God. – Matt. 7:7 
3. Deomai – Prayer that expresses a deep desire or need. – Luke 10:2; 22:32 
4. Epikaleo – Prayer that calls upon God for help. – Acts 7:59; Rom. 10:13 
5. Entunchano – Prayer that pleads with God for results. – Rom. 8:27; 11:2; Heb. 
7:25 
6. Enteuxis – Prayer that requests favor from a sovereign God. – 1 Tim. 2:1; 4:5 

B. SEVEN KINDS OF PRAYER 
1. Prayer of intercession for others. 
2. Prayer of worship for God. 
3. Prayer of agreement for communion. 
4. Prayer of petition for things. 
5. Prayer of confession for forgiveness. 
6. Prayer of salvation for sinners. 
7. Prayer of faith for miracles. 

C. WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS OF PRAYER? 
1. God responds to our prayer when we are yielded to Him. – Mark 14:36; 1 John 
5:14 
2. God responds to our prayer when we pray “in Jesus’ name.” – John 14:13, 14; 
15:16 
3. God responds to our prayer when we pray with faith. – Heb. 11:6 
4. God responds to our prayer when we are abiding in Christ and the Word of God. – 
John 15:7 
5. God responds to our prayer when we are persistent in prayer. – Luke 18:1; Col. 
4:2 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fun, Frisky Friday


Hey honey... can you help me with something, pleeassseee??????
Okay, I’ll just come out and say it – you want to add something to your beauty regime that can make you look younger?  SEX! That’s right, I said it!  In Prevention magazine recently, in an article on habits that can age you, NOT making love to your husband can make you older.  They write, “Research shows that people with active sex lives have stronger immune systems, less pain, a lower cancer risk, healthier hearts, and less stress.  The best news:  it can even make you look younger – up to 12 years, one study shows.

Be an active participant in your sex lives, wild women.  Pat Covant, PhD and author of What Smart Couples Know, says that a lot of men would like to be touched more, seduced more.  When was the last time you initiated a time of intimacy with the hubs, gals?  It’s Friday night – what better time than tonight?  Tomorrow afternoon?  This weekend?  Wake him up at 3am!!!!  Friday, Saturday AND Sunday!  C’mon girls, get in touch with that inner wild woman and put a gigantic smile on your bridegroom’s face and a glimmer in his eye that nobody but you and he will understand.  It’s ain’t a wife’s “d-u-t-y”, girlfriend, it’s her joy and privilege to make love to/with her husband.  Talk about a gift from God – read the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament lately?  Check it out – it’s waaayyy more steamier than any shade of gray!

Can't you just imagine, "Oh honey, I need your help with something... can you do something for me that will be really good for my heart, strengthen my immune system, lower my risk for cancer and make me look younger?"  "Sure, dear,what?"  "Ummm.... welll... (whisper)" WHAT?  SURE!!!!!  He'll never think of that "honey-do" list the same way!!!

So be a hot tamale, chichita, and make sure your hubby goes to work on Monday morning tired as can be… but very, very happy!!!!!  Do it for your relationship, do it for your health, do it for fun, but DO IT!!!!!  Regularly and well.  And if you need some creative ideas, check out these wonderful resources:

1.  The Gift of Sex by Cliff and Joyce Penner

2.  Intended for Pleasure by Ed & Gayle Wheat

3.  A Celebration of Sex by Douglas Rosenau

4.  Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus

5.  Sheet Music by Kevin Leman

Blessings and a wonderful (and active, if you get my drift...wink, wink... nod, nod) weekend,

Coach Linda


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The God Who Listens...

Luke 18:1 "... pray and not lose heart."
It’s been a mixed bag the last few days, with ups/downs and bizarre weather.  Nothing over the top, thankfully, but the anxious grind was a low-level drone in my soul, disturbing my calm.  I’d disappointed myself and God, needed to go to His throne of grace on my face... yet again (sigh... will I never learn?).  Stresses and overload at work.  Looming deadlines that felt near impossible to meet.  Some unexpected aches and pains. Relationship issues.  I was really feeling blue and my perspective on my personal worth was plummeting at the speed of light.  

I was sitting in the Pilates studio at the gym during a break between clients.  I pulled out my homework/books to make most of the “down” time studying (yeah right… down time… what is that?).  This week’s assignment was about Christ and prayer.  One of my textbooks is “Core Christianity” by Elmer Towns.  In the chapter “Christianity is an Ongoing Relationship with God”, Dr. Towns writes 

“The word for prayer (in Luke 18:1) is proseuchamai.  It comes from two words – pros meaning toward and euchamai meaning the face.  This defines prayer as a face-to-face relationship with God.  Proseuchamai is the most used word for prayer in the New Testament, suggesting that Christians should have intimate conversations with God.  Hence, prayer is not just asking for things, but rather prayer is talking to God and enjoying an intimate relationship with Him.”

That hit me – for as many years as I’ve prayed, from times of feeling like I’ve been listened to and heard God speak in my heart, to the times when I felt like my words were just bouncing off the ceiling – it just hit me fresh and new.  God?  Face to face with me?  Especially after I’ve just come off my millionth let-Him-down-blew-it-for-the-umpteenth-time shining moment of shame?  Still?  This is so huge, and should be a blinding priority realization each day in my life… yet I’m ashamed to say it’s not.  I forget.  I cringe and hide.  I get stressed out and juggle instead of hitting knee-mail to spend time with Him.  

I began to pray… no big fancy noble la-dee-dah words, just gut-felt transparent no-frills mumbled whispers from unsure lips.  I told Him I felt like life was just raining down on me like the storms we’ve been having lately.  Weather imitating life.  I felt limp, tired and exhausted from my soul on out.  I just sat and tried to be quiet and still before Him.  The next moments were little miracle blessings for me.  The God of the Universe, Master of all creation and every atom and cell, took time for me.  Outside the storms began – thundering and lightning and rain pelting down so hard you could hear it like horses galloping over the rooftop of the gym.  As I listened, the aerobics class in the next room poured out a new song – Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”.  I kid you not; I can’t make this stuff up.  Then from deep within my memory the strains of the old hymn “Trust and Obey” rose… “trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, then to trust and obey.”  

I’d been trying so hard to manage/cope on my own… trying to understand, to be patient, to succumb to the temptation to manipulate situations and make life work in my own power.  And here is my Heavenly Papa, holding me and listening to the unspoken pain and confusion in my heart, telling me to stop, to trust Him to handle it in His way, and simply to remain obedient in my daily words and actions.

It was if the storm was washing away my tension, releasing me into my Father’s peace and calm.  My Grandmother used to have a little Tiffany silver lapel pin that read “Let Go and Let God”.  I smiled as I remembered it (and it's lesson) through misty eyes.  I put away the books, sat a little longer just to be in His presence in that little corner of the studio, and let His blessing hug me gently, warmly… soothed and calmed by the God of All… my Papa, Who is never too busy to listen and guide.

Amazing grace…

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A wise woman builds her house...

Proverbs 14:1:  “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

How are you building your house today?  Are you carefully and mindfully constructing a strong and secure home brick-by-brick?  Or do you have a sloppy structure tossed together without much thought or planning?  What does this verse even mean?

From a personal perspective, if you view it from your house being your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, how are you taking care of it?  Are you meals judicious, seeking to fuel your body with healthful foods that create a balance for optimal energy?  Are you exercising regularly and getting enough sleep?  Are you creating time for yourself so that you won’t be on overload 24/7?  

In your daily life, do you use strong foundational bricks of careful caution, practicality and stability in your finances, or do you tear your monetary house down with credit card debt, instant gratification purchases and living outside your means?  Are you saving for the future, putting even a few dollars aside here and there for an emergency fund?  Planning your purchases and shopping wisely from groceries and everyday items to major matters?  Are you giving generously?

What of your home itself?  Are you keeping it clean and open to friends and guests, or do you suffer from C.H.A.O.S. – “can’t have anybody over syndrome”?  Oh, I’m not saying you have to be Miss Perfect in your home, because someone will always probably have a bigger and fancier house, furniture, etc.  But is your home a sanctuary that is clean and orderly and available to be used to minister to others with something as simple as a “Hey, c’mon over for a cup of tea?”  There is such a freedom in being able to extend an invitation without worrying about dishes in the sink, clutter and dirt.  Friends love you for you, so don’t be afraid to have them over.  If you have children, with a ton of toys strewn around, so be it – but create a home that is filled with warmth, love and unencumbered by disorganization and confusion in spirit as well as housekeeping.  A sanctuary where your family and friends (or strangers) walk in and can relax, sit down and mentally/physically be renewed and refreshed?

How are you building your relational home?  The word wise comes from the original Hebrew word chakam, which means skillful, shrewd, subtle and prudent. The word foolish speaks of one who is quarrelsome and licentious.  How are your words, attitude and actions building up or tearing down your marriage?  Each day do you use verbal bricks and mortar to strength and fortify your husband?  Do you have an attitude of respect and honor to him and your relationship?  Or do you tear down with sarcasm, using body language and voice tone to convey your dissatisfaction with him, like little word termites that eat away at the structure until it implodes?  To tear down in Hebrews comes from the word harac, and means to overthrow, break down, pluck, and destroy.  Do you chisel away at your marriage by overthrowing/usurping your husband’s leadership, withholding intimacy, and focusing on all that is wrong rather than celebrating the right moments and seeking them out with eyes of love and expectation of blessing?  Are you building your home and relationship with a positive attitude and bathing your husband, family and home in prayer?  Are you fostering and encouraging the Lord’s presence in your spirit and home?

Most importantly, what are you doing to build up your spiritual house?  Are you going to the Lord each morning to ensure that your day/walk with Him is on the right path?  Asking Him to help you do all the things mentioned to build a strong, loving and Christ-like self and home, where you radiate and reflect the Lord in word, deed and the space around you?  Your heart is Christ’s home – no matter where you are… work, home, community, gym, church, running errands, doing chores… is your home/your heart set securely on the unwavering foundation of Jesus Christ?  

Like the beautiful glow of golden light inside a house viewed from the outside in the darkness of night, be an inviting beacon of His love today.  Take a moment to assemble the best tools and materials to develop yourself, your home, and your relationships that will erect a beautiful monument in your spirit and life to the Lord.  Create a home from inside out that will glorify God and give you a life of peace and joy unsurpassed.

Use this day, wise woman, use it well.

Friday, May 3, 2013

WISH


WISHES

Make a wish into the sky 
Don’t analyze it nor ask why 
Wish into now - reach out and grasp 
What's done is done - dead in the past 
Wish not for then, of sad regrets 
But wish for what is unseen yet 
Wish for your now and future days 
Wish free and deep and be amazed 
At what may come and blessings more 
For joyous whens so close in store 
So wish away with all your might 
And watch as wishes then take flight  

Poem and photography by Linda Bush

Monday, April 29, 2013

On Walking the Path of Gracious Uncertainty


Grounds for Sculpture pathway - photo by Linda Bush
I have a penchant for worry and anxiety and a desire for control.  I do not like to not know what is happening next, nor am I one who easily “wings it.”  I like plan and purpose and certainty.  How often I have told people, “I am a black and white gal.  Tell me the black, tell me the white, and I can deal with it.  Put me in the gray area of uncertainty, of not knowing, and I go crazy.”  It is probably one, if the THE, most difficult areas of my faith and my spiritual walk with God.  I want to know what is going on, what will happen… I just HATE HATE HATE not knowing.  The down side/curse of being one who has a very active imagination and healthy sense of creativity is being able to think of the millions of things that COULD happen… and usually they are all negative.  I project what may take place if this or that occurs or doesn’t transpire.  My mind can materialize vast scenarios for any unknown.  It takes me to weird and wild places from the logical to the completely outlandish… to places I should not let me go. 

I confess that, like termites, these times eat away at the foundation of my faith in God to know what is best for me.  Like a bratty child whining from the back seat “Are we there yet?” I shamefully bellyache my prayers and drone on and on. Trust is not a natural gift/talent for me… sitting with a quiet and gentle spirit while God is doing what He deems best in my life for His glory, for my obedience and growth and honing into the holy woman of God He sees in me (something I am blind to most of the time), comes with great difficulty.  It is hard labor for me to sit on my hands and not meddle and maneuver and manipulate my way into just that – MY way.  Instead of my heart singing the hymn, “Have THINE own way, Lord” I sing Frank Sinatra’s signature anthem at the top of my lungs… in spite of the knowledge that when I have chosen to walk that slippery slope of disobedience, I always fall down and hurt myself and God and others.

After reading the beautiful and poignant (and timely) devotion in today’s “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, I am again reminded how my patient and loving Father knows best.  I must learn to embrace His gracious uncertainty.  I may present my requests to His listening heart, of course, but I must learn (and be content and satisfied and rejoice in the fact) that His ways are not my ways, and that there will be times when what I want to happen now may not be part of the present and future in His grand scheme.

Oh God, forgive me for always wanting my own way and wanting to know it all right now.  Give me courage, grace and strength to look to You only, to trust You only and welcome the uncertainty of my future that I might, step by step and moment by moment, grow in faith as I walk along the path You have designed for me in love before the world began.


Gracious Uncertainty

. . . it has not yet been revealed what we shall be . . . —1 John 3:2

Our natural inclination is to be so precise—trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next—that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God—it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “. . . believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ann Voskamp's Website for Today

Photo by Linda Bush - Cape May Sunrise
Today I'd like to invite you to a very special few moments of quiet bliss - a feast for the eyes, the ears and the heart/soul.  Go over to Ann Voskamp's website "A Holy Experience" and look at her blog for today entitled "How to Make a Home".  CLICK HERE

I love the way this woman writes - it is a gift from God, and she is a magnificant photographer, able to capture life in ways words, even hers,simply cannot.  She is the author of "One Thousand Gifts" which I highly recommend and which is featured as April's Book of the Month.  I also participate on her "Take the Joy Dare"  and I try to Twitter three joys daily based on her guide.  Some days I fail, some days I can think of many.. but each time I do it I feel I'm building a few moments of eternity by thanking God for the blessings right under my nose that I'm guilty of not seeing in the midst of my hamster-wheel busy-ness.

So, please treat yourself to a few moments of joy... a respite from your crazy day.  I encourage you to grab a cup of tea and linger there.

Blessings and joy,
Linda

Follow me at Twitter:  https://twitter.com/kre8tv4Him

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dark Night of the Soul


This morning in my devotional reading from Our Daily Bread was a portion of the passage from John 13 from the Last Supper, the night before Jesus’ crucifixion.  It got me thinking about Jesus’ last “free” night on earth.  He knew exactly what was to come.  He faced the horror of the upcoming betrayal, pain and Cross. 

Have you ever had a time in your life when it was the eve of something tragic and beyond agonizing for you?  The night before a funeral of a beloved one?  The night before a divorce?  The night before surgery?  The night before some incredible loss that you knew was coming?  It is almost unbearable… you cannot find breath, your body is wracked with heartbreak, dread and mind-numbing disbelief.  You are unable to allow the grief to touch the root of your soul for fear it will take your own life right then and there.  Perhaps you even wish it would end your life as a means of escape.

How much more must Jesus have felt as His future loomed before Him?  To face not only the horrific upcoming torture of His body but the separation from His Father, to Whom He was in constant union since before time began?  To face that severance of blessed communion with His beloved Father, to have the Father turn His back on Jesus?  Is it any wonder that, in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He sweat drops of blood as He found one last shred of sanctuary in a time of prayer and fellowship with His Abba? 

And yet, in the midst of all this foreknowledge, in John 14:1 He is able to tell His disciples (and us) Let not your heart be troubled…”

Perhaps you are also facing a dark night of the soul.  If not now, I am sure you have in the past and can easily go back there in mind, body and soul – these are not nights we ever forget… ever.  May I ask you to momentarily remember that Jesus has been there and knows what you are going through or have experienced?  This is not a Savior Who sits high in some lofty throne in the heavens unaware and untouched by your tragedy and grief.  He has walked in your shoes… and so much more.  He has been crucified, buried, and experienced Hell.  By choice… for us… in our place... for our redemption.

Your life will never be the same after what you have faced or are about to go through soon.  But take heart in the fact that, when we have Christ as our Savior and Lord, we have One who ensures that your eternal life has also been transformed forver.  You will never have to face the torment of being separated from the Father.  Because Christ chose us by electing His painful path that night so many centuries ago, we can allow ourselves – in Him – to not let our hearts be troubled.  Right now you may not be able to wrap yourself around that eternal truth, but know beyond feelings… know the truth of the fact… that in Him your heart may rest.  And in time there will be the glory of a resurrected day for you in the here and now on earth, as well as the unspeakable joy and victory of forever with Christ, never to be separated, never to feel pain, but only the sweet victory of salvation through the One Who rose from the grave and conquered death… on our behalf.  He chose you and gladly went through everything because of His love for you. YOU.

As you turn off the light tonight and lie in darkness remember His dark night of the soul, and look beyond – as He did – to a time when there will be no more pain or sorrow… only the peace that will come in His arms… opened wide before time began, opened wide as He hung on the cross… opened wide now with love for you.  Accept this comfort… accept Him… and let not your heart be troubled.  Believe in Him.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Today as I was feeding my pinterest addiction (yes, it is a hobby, distraction, calming agent, procrastination tool of choice)...  but I digress...

I saw a pin that led me to the blog of Rachel Wojnarowski, and it seems we both share a common love of technology and the Bible.  She had a great little posting on "10 Groovy Ways to Use Bible Aps".  Being an old hippie, I saw the word groovy, my kinship grew deeper, so I just had to check it out.  It was a good 101 primer set of ideas for using your Bible aps, so I thought I'd share it here.

I've copied it below, or if you prefer, you can find it at http://rachelwojo.com/10-groovy-ways-to-use-bible-apps/.  Be sure to surf over to her site and check it out!

Oh yes, and if you'd like to follow me as on pinterest, click here at:  http://pinterest.com/kre8tv4him/

Blessings!

Linda

********************************************

10 Groovy Ways to Use Bible Apps by Rachael Wojnarowski

1. Read the Bible. I know, totally floored by that, aren’t you? Let’s keep going.

2. Easily use a Bible reading plan. For folks who like to have a printed Bible reading plan so that you can physically check off the paper- I get it. And I have one right here for you.  If you are not a paper person, but love to check off the plan as you go, then Bible Reading Plans on the Olive Tree App have accessibility to mark off the assignments as you go. This feature is highly popular on Bible apps in general.

3. Can’t remember all the words in a verse or you just want to know the reference?  Do a word search right there on the spot and find the verse you are trying to remember in a split second.

4. Keep your study notes or notes from sermons in the handy notes section of Bible apps.

5. Highlight your favorite verses as you read. Or highlight words that speak especially to your heart. One very cool feature is that the highlighters come in different colors. You could color code the highlights by topic or by personal meaning.

6. View a history of what you have read. When reading various references throughout a teaching or preaching session, if you need to go back to a previously-referenced section, simply tap the history and tap the appropriate reference on the list. Very cool for students AND teachers.

7. Utilize the various translations, Bible dictionaries, and commentaries that are automatically included in many Bible apps.

8. Go to any verse in the Bible in three taps or less.

9. Change font sizes to accommodate eyes that appreciate large font type.

10. Use the split screen feature to read two different resources at the same time. In the Olive Tree app, this feature allows you to view the Bible and a commentary that are synced to the same verses. By turning off the sync feature, you can also read two totally different selections.




Friday, February 1, 2013

Life Leeches


Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

Have you ever seen the classic movie “The African Queen” with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn?  If not, let me recommend you put it on your list of must see movies!!  There’s a scene in the movie where Bogart and Hepburn are stuck in his broken down tramp steamer that has become trapped in the tangled weeds and mire of the Ulanga River.  In a daunting task, he submerges himself up to his shoulders in the muddy canal and literally pulls the boat along by a rope until he gets it to higher waters.  Just as he begins to celebrate their victory with Hepburn, he looks down to discover he’s been covered with leeches hidden in the murky waters.  Horrified, they begin pulling the disgusting, slimy critters from his body before he becomes their bloody lunch!

How many times I have thought of that movie when I find myself overwhelmed by the “dailies” of life… the small, individually insignificant irritations/clamorings for my time, energy and attention.  In and of themselves, these problems can be exhausting yet manageable.  But when you’re weary from the day-to-day battle, especially when there seems no end in sight, these back-to-back in-your-face troubles can toss you from the sure-footing of your own life’s boat into a stagnant and muddy river that threatens to wash over you and swallow you whole as you gasp for breath.  And just when you find your balance long enough to stand up again, you’re covered by what I call “life leeches” – the seemingly innocuous small events that bleed you dry.  It can be anything from a suddenly broken dryer (when, of course, you’ve just put in a full, dripping load of laundry), to an argument with someone, to a bad day at work or school, to a flat tire, or even discovering that your cell phone has lost it’s charge… even something as plain as not getting enough sleep.  Again, it’s not the big events – it’s the never-ending onslaught of these little life leeches that suck the energy, joy and hope right out of you until you’re ready to just call it a day and self-medicate in your own special way to numb the monotonous ache of facing another day… anything to escape.

I have to have faith that Jesus experienced this in His live as a carpenter, even before He began His public ministry.  And then… as He dealt with His ministry, the crowds, the disciples and His enemies, He had to have gone through His own “dailies” that drained Him as well.  I wonder if that was how He felt after being baptized and then spending 40 days in the desert, and then having to face the enemy?  In His humanity, He had to battle fatigue, hunger, discouragement, feeling overwhelmed and unsure of His future.  Surely He must have dealt with the struggle and juggle and attack of these insidious life leeches.

I’m not saying that knowing this makes it easier for me when I’m in the middle of the mess… I’m no saint who smiles brightly and sings Kum Bay Ah when I’m really ready to scream at the top of my lunges and drive off the nearest cliff.  I do yell and cry – and I try to do it with Him in the quietness of my room or in my car (in the garage, not necessarily on the road… although I admit I have found myself close to tearing off the steering wheel sobbing and shouting on a back road once or twice as I ever-so-Christianly “had fellowship and prayer with the Lah-or-Dah (yes, that’s Lord in three syllables).  I cling to the belief that He can handle it, and understands and allows me to come to Him in my imperfection/despair/disappointment/depression o cry and vent and find comfort, without condemnation or disapproval because I’m not some strong and perfect Super-Believer.

I’m also not saying that it makes everything a bed of roses, either.  But it does give me His power, His peace and His courage to face and tackle those bloodsucking life leeches and try again another day. 

So if you find yourself in the same situation, my friend, before you go off the deep end (and I know you may be teetering off the edge right now), come to Jesus.  Be earthy and real and share yourself and your pain honestly and openly.  Dump it all on Him… because He cares for you, and you will find rest and answers with Him.